Super Senior Will Flannery Embraces a New Opportunity, Becomes a Part of the Dickinson Coaching Staff

Super Senior Will Flannery Embraces a New Opportunity, Becomes a Part of the Dickinson Coaching Staff

Will Flannery ‘22 first set foot at Dickinson College in 2018 as a first year midfielder for the Men’s soccer team. Now he’s set to become an Assistant Coach, focusing on strength and conditioning in the coming season. 

In his sophomore year, Flannery was out for close to eight months after a tendon tear in his hip in a game against Messiah University required surgery. The following season was canceled due to COVID-19. In his first three years at Dickinson, Flannery was only able to start twelve games. The 2021 season, Flannery’s true senior year, was also disappointing as his Red Devils went 2-11-2 and Flannery only started in five games. 

Flannery wasn’t at his best in the 2021 season because of more physical problems. He told me,

“I was lifting with improper form while squatting, just stacking on weight, and I ended up damaging nerves in my back.” This required him to receive a cortisone shot into his spine in order to use his fifth year of eligibility and play this year. 

Flannery’s experience as a member of the soccer team finally moved in a positive direction this year as the team changed its strength and conditioning routine last spring: “We instituted baseline tests… goblet squats, pullups and bench press, and from the start to the end of the Spring we had to see a certain percent increase in reps.” 

Flannery says that this was a good start, but that the real change for him happened after the end of this season: “As soon as the season was over, I was really impressed with the guys, it’s really all on the guys, since it’s all [the workouts] voluntary and optional. I took it upon myself to make a change.” 

From there, Flannery focused on consulting within the athletics department regarding explosiveness, dynamism, balance and more soccer-focused training. 

What stood out the most to Flannery was how the team responded after the crushing loss in penalty kicks to Johns Hopkins in the Centennial Conference tournament. “It’s all down on the guys, I can’t give them enough credit. Typically we don’t do anything for the rest of the semester and we start back up in the Spring, but the guys were already hungry for next year, and we have such a young group so it was really encouraging to see that come from them.” 

Going into this season, Flannery was shocked by the youth and depth of the squad, especially with the arrival of striker Saul Iwowo ‘25. Flannery and Iwowo had both been midfielders. The two of them moved to the striker position before this season. Flannery had seen an opportunity to start. 

“Originally, I was supposed to graduate in 2022, and I had no idea what to do post-graduation. So I came back expecting to play, started as a striker in the spring and then, with Saul’s success, the rest is history. We were sort of able to relate to each other because we were both stepping into an unfamiliar role. I wish when I was a freshman, someone told me how important it was in the Centennial Conference the emphasis on physical aspects. I wasn’t used to how physical the matchups were, but I was able to really talk to Saul about that, having to be physically ready to go to battle.”

As a captain for the Red Devils, Flannery often helped with video reviews. This ignited a new passion for the super-senior. “I stepped up and I did all of our video review, pregame, post game, scouting reports, making powerpoints, taking notes for players, notable subs, tactics for set pieces. I was watching 4-5 hours of film for each team.” Specifically for Iwowo, Flannery saw the first year player’s greatness early. “With the film, I was able to give him some pointers about what to do, but I really credit it to his own success and ability, in both practice and games. I felt he was going to be a starter all along, he really smashed the fitness test. He really pushed me to be better as a player. Coming back as a fifth year I did expect to play every minute, and I think this is a sign of a good team with the depth and how everyone is working to better each other, iron sharpens iron.” 

All was going well for Flannery until he partially tore either his MCL or meniscus at a practice late this season. At this point, Flannery had played in 17 of the Red Devils’ 18 games but the injury kept him out of the playoff match. The injury allowed Flannery to strictly focus on film for the playoffs. More importantly, it opened a new chapter for Flannery’s career, a chance to become an assistant coach. “Off the field I questioned how I can step up and contribute to the team since I’m only taking two classes right now.” 

Flannery credits his new role to Coach Chapoy’s willingness to allow him to help. “It helped alleviate some pressure from him [Chapoy]. As a go-between with the players, I helped translate lost messages. I’m really excited to start in the spring because coaching wasn’t something I thought I’d be interested in, and just being able to help out with the strength and conditioning stuff.” Flannery even hints that he may recruit with Chapoy for the 2023 season and that he may help coach scrimmages in the spring. 

It was a humbling situation for Will Flannery as he came into his fifth year expecting to start. He showed incredible leadership and maturity, as a captain. He pivoted to a role that is not expected from most college athletes, and thrived in it. In his conversation with me, it was clear he has a true connection with his players and a great sense of the game. Flannery is making a logical next step towards a real coaching position, and there’s no reason to think he won’t excel in this role.